Editor’s note: This information is taken from Paul Kengor’s new book forthcoming from Mercury Ink, The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.
This July 4, 2012, America stands at the cusp—or looking at the abyss—of the “fundamental” and “transformational” change that Barack Obama promised four years ago. Ironically, it was also fundamental and transformational change that Barack Obama’s mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, promised this exact time 66 years ago.
A devoted Communist Party member, Frank Marshall Davis, on July 6, 1946, published a column for the kick-off edition of the Chicago Star. The Star was the communist newspaper for Chicago, known among locals as the “RedStar.” Davis was not only a columnist but the founding editor-in-chief. Joining him in the newspaper was a fascinating cast of characters, from literal Soviet agents to the likes of Senator Claude “Red” Pepper, who during his time at the Starwas championing a bill to nationalize healthcare in the United States, a bill written by his chief of staff, Charles Kramer, who we now know was a Soviet agent. Frank Marshall Davis himself called for taxpayer-subsidized “universal healthcare.”
In fact, Davis and his Star comrades would urge many things that sound eerily similar to Barack Obama’s presidency today. They blasted big business, Wall Street, big banks, big oil, “profits,” “millionaires” and corporate executives for not paying their “fair” share. They urged that wealth be redistributed to “health insurance” and “public works projects.” They targeted General Motors for government action. They despised anti-communists like Winston Churchill and singled out the Catholic Church as an obstacle to their vision for the state. And as they did, Davis and his comrades called themselves “progressives.”
Such policy initiatives would populate the Star throughout Frank Marshall Davis’s editorship. In that first issue, however, intended to coincide with the commemoration of America’s birthday, Davis launched the newspaper with a special column titled, “Those Radicals of ’76.”
The Star’s launch around the July 4 holiday was no coincidence, as Davis sought to identify the Star with the Stars & Stripes; that is, with the principles of the American Founders. It would be a “modern Declaration of Independence” by new “spiritual descendants … of 1776.”
“It seems to me,” Frank Marshall Davis wrote, “the time has come for a new Declaration of Independence, to be implemented at the polls by the plain people such as you and I, which will remove the chains forged about us by the big money boys and their mouthpieces.”
Applying the language of the Marxist dialectic (without naming Marx), Davis noted that all radicals of “past and present” “anticipate the logical course of history and lead humanity on its way.” “So it was in 1776; so it is today.” Like “this nation’s forefathers in the 18th century,” exhorted Davis, it was time to “force into effect a modern Declaration of Independence.”
This invocation of the American Founding by Davis was absurd, as nothing was further from the Founding than communism. Nonetheless, it was a common tactic by American communists, and has been likewise for the progressive movement for 100 years. Of course, Barack Obama himself invokes the Founding, when it suits his purposes.
And speaking of Obama, Frank Marshall Davis, in this column launching his newspaper and his communist cause, preached a very Obama-like mantra of “change.” Davis averred: “If history teaches us anything, it teaches that any fundamental change advancing society is spearheaded by strong radicals.”
Davis himself imparted this to Obama. As reported by Dr. Kathryn Takara, a University of Hawaii professor who was personally close to Frank Marshall Davis and a Davis biographer, Davis “nurtured a sense of possibility” in Obama, including “a sense of believing that change can happen.”
Think of the irony and relevance of this today, as Barack Obama, mentored by Frank Marshall Davis, seeks “fundamental change” in advancing American society in a direction advocated by him and his strong radicals. This is the “sense of possibility” that Obama has imparted to his fellow progressives.
Our mentors matter. Shame on the media for not vetting Obama and looking into mentors like Frank Marshall Davis. We’re paying the consequences now, this July 4, 2012, 66 years after Frank Marshall Davis, another “change agent,” launched his personal revolution, one today carried in the person of Barack Obama, and projected upon all of us.
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College. His new book is The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor. He is also author of Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.